Monday, 27 September 2010

Marvellous Masham

The weekend of the 25th and 26th of September was the date of the 2010 Masham Sheep Fair. This long running event in North Yorkshire is a celebration of all things sheepy.

We decided to go on the first day as we wanted to see the longwool and downland breeds that featured in that days show. The day started in a disorientating fashion as I stopped off at the portaloos that were both CLEAN and pleasant to be in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! –a completely alien environment for a veteran of several music festivals.

The morning was spent viewing the show sheep, all of which looked fantastic and visiting the craft fair and displays. The latter was slighty disappointing in that a number of categories had very few entries and there was no sign of any entries for the natural dyeing section. Then back to watch the judging, which was accompanied by an excellent commentary that helped demystify the whole process.

After some scrummy chips at the local chippy, that included an unplanned meet up with some other ravellers, it was off to the back field to watch first sheep racing
and then sheepdog demonstrations.

Then it was back to the main square to watch the last run of the sheep show, for me the highlight of the whole day. The brilliant Kiwi who ran it was brilliantly funny while the show was also superbly informative featuring some brilliant characters who illustrated different types of sheep.

He also explained how wool was processed including a shearing demonstration but also laced it with some serious political stuff including encouraging people to sign the petition encouraging British wool products to be used in the London Olympics.

However the highlight of the show was the end display of dancing by the sheep. I do have a small video of Terry the Texel who was the absolute star of the whole thing but I’m not going to post it as it doesn’t do his funky grooves full justice. Just if you have a chance to see the show that does tour pleas do.

Plus as with all such events there was the wallet-damaging fleece sale. As well as an opportunity to purchase some fleeces this also gives a great opportunity to get hands on with a variety of fleece types. We picked up a great Wensleydale, a grey/blue Ryeland and two fabulously soft Whitefaced Woodland (note if the person who produced them is reading this you really should assess what you charge for your fleeces-they were way too cheap for their quality).

To finish off the day it would have been rude not to have a pint as Masham is also home to both the Theakstons and Black Sheep breweries. Weirdly the pub we visited, the White Bear, was next to the Black Sheep but stocked Theakstons.

Finally back up to Newcastle and flake out as we were both sheep-tired!

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